Sunday, March 25, 2012

Strange Fruit: Part 2

Oak Plum Saison
Belgian Pils, Caravienne, Torrified Wheat, Special B
Saaz, Mount Hood, Zythos Hops
Wyeast Belgian Saison (1.2 lt starter)
3lbs Yellow Plums
3oz Hungarian Oak Cubes

A few days before making the Belgian Fruit Beer mentioned in the post previous to this one I brewed up a Saison. Although I felt it was a couple weeks early to brew a Saison I did have the weather in my favor. When you are reaching 70-80 degrees every day, a Saison hits the spot. I also saw The Bruery and some Stillwater's on tap a few times while I was out and about to sway my brewing schedule.

Again, I mentioned in the previous post that I had to play with varying temperatures last Summer and Fall, but this early Spring brought a nice stable 67-70 degrees in my basement with the help of a blanket or two wrapping the fermentor. For my OG on this batch I shot for 1.046 was almost right on. Wyeast Belgian Saison is as finicky as them come in my book. Just when you think that you stalled out everything revitalizes and is fine. I still let the primary go for 13 days. To bring fruit into this recipe I went back to my Plum Rye IPA and ended up getting 3lbs of Yellow Plums. You are not going to get a whole lot of secondary fermentation using plums. I was hoping for a bit of tartness. The Rye IPA was very pleasant, but with this yeast I didn't know what to expect. I left the plums soaking in Cabernet for the entire primary and the taste of them on racking day made me want some Sangria. The tartness of the plum and fruitiness of the wine was a nice blend. That brings us to the current week. The outside temp is dropping and with a week in the 50s and low 60s I figured that oaking it might be another nice addition. That is where this post ends. I am going to let it sit on the oak for about 14 days. Every other time that I have used oak it was a Stout or Porter and 30 days seemed to be what I gauged everything on. The one exception was the Oak Double IPA that we did this year and 2 weeks was plenty (by the way, a First Tasting Post on that beer should appear later in the week).

Cheers until then.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Strange Fruit

4lbs Raspberries in Secondary
Now is the time of year when I start thinking about fruit beers. It's not that I am a fan of them, but playing with different fruits and alcohols has been a big part of my brewing over the past year. Last year I worked on a few different saisons, mainly concentrating on different herbs, different yeast strains, higher and lower temperatures and overall getting to know the style of beer a bit better. Spring in Philadelphia is absurdly warm right now and it feels like a nice middle of the road temperature to work with.

I have access to a good deal of fruit grown last year and frozen. Raspberries were the majority in my options. I wanted a pretty basic base of Pale Malt, a bit of Wheat. Warrior hops seem to be something that have made it into two recipes last month so I went with it as the only hop at 60 mins. I wanted this to be a fairly big beer with an OG around 1.096. I planned on 3 lbs of berries at knock out and a 2 litter starter with 2 smack packs. This is sounding kind-of DFH Fort-like and as much as I would love to make something like that, I know there is so much time and knowledge to kick something like that out. I was recently sent a blog where the brewer made a 120 Clone and I assume that it is a similar fermentation process.

After primary is over I still plan on racking onto another 4 lbs of berries. Time and taste will tell.

Lesson Learned- Puree, Puree, Puree. I potato smashed 3 lbs of rasp. and wild berries. This resulted in a nicely clogged screen when draining into the fermentor. I planned on this so I had a strainer and large funnel sanitized and ready.

Brett Pellicle

After a month of sitting a top of 4lbs of raspberries in the secondary it looks no different that out of the primary. Why would it? The berries roused up a nice second fermentation adding plenty more tartness and haze. I pitched a vile of Wyeast Brett L. Let's see what happens.

Sour Belgian Raspberry
Pale Malt, Wheat Malt, Carapils
Warrior Hops
Wyeast Belgian Wit 
White Labs Brett L
Orange, Lemon, Lime Zest
3lbs of Raspberries (knock out)
4lbs of Raspberries (secondary) - Photo above

Here is a poem: 

Strange Fruit by Seamus Heaney
Here is the girl's head like an exhumed gourd.
Oval-faced, prune-skinned, prune-stones for teeth.
They unswaddled the wet fern of her hair
And made an exhibition of its coil,
Let the air at her leathery beauty.
Pash of tallow, perishable treasure:
Her broken nose is dark as a turf clod,
Her eyeholes blank as pools in the old workings.
Diodorus Siculus confessed
His gradual ease with the likes of this:
Murdered, forgotten, nameless, terrible
Beheaded girl, outstaring axe
And beatification, outstaring 
What had begun to feel like reverence.